Saskatchewan government commits $13M to new skills training programs

Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said nearly $13 million in funding will provide education and training to grow Saskatchewan’s skilled workforce. Files / Global News

Two Saskatchewan institutions are receiving nearly $13 million in funding from the province for education and skills training.

Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said this will help grow a skilled workforce in the province.

He added it will help engage under-represented people in the workforce, create long-term care jobs and increase the number of apprentices in the province.

Read more: Saskatchewan pilot project aims to re-establish dental therapy for Indigenous communities

“Saskatchewan’s greatest resource has always been its people and this funding supports the provincial Growth Plan priority to develop a skilled workforce in our province through education and training,” Harrison said in a release Tuesday.

“As we emerge from the global pandemic and work to build a strong Saskatchewan, this funding will target training for economic opportunities, promote recruitment and retention of young people, support participation of those currently under-represented in the workforce, and continue growing an engaged and inclusive workforce for the future.”

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The majority of the funding — $11.3 million — will go to Saskatchewan Polytechnic for three training initiatives in 2021-22.

One program, the Supportive Care Assistant program, is for adult learners to explore entry-level positions in health care. The province said this will go toward its promise to hire an additional 300 continuing care assistants.

Sask Polytech is also offering Disability Services Programming for adult learners with disabilities and Newcomer Services Programming to provide in-demand skills training and language training for newcomers to Canada.

“Supporting an inclusive, diverse and skilled workforce to promote Saskatchewan’s growth priorities is important to Sask Polytech,” said Larry Rosia, Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s president and CEO, in a statement.

“This funding will provide learners the skills necessary to reach their career goals or to launch a new career path in our great province.”

Read more: Saskatchewan Polytechnic launches School of Continuing Education

The remaining funding — $1.68 million — will be used by the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission to deliver three initiatives by the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year.

One is teaching kits for elementary and high school students to broaden their awareness of apprenticeships and careers in trade.

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The other initiatives are a tiny house project to allow Indigenous students to gain work experience while working toward their journeyperson certification and virtual reality kits so youth can explore apprenticeship trades programs.

“We already engage Saskatchewan youth and Indigenous communities through our well-established Indigenous Apprenticeship Initiative (IAI) and Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship (SYA) programs,” said Jeff Ritter, SATCC’s CEO,  in a release.

“This funding will enable us to reach out in new, innovative ways. Ultimately, it will help facilitate a diverse, inclusive apprenticeship and trade certification system, one that is representative of our province’s population.”

The Saskatchewan government said funding for the projects was secured through the Labour Market Transfer Agreement negotiated with the federal government.

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